According to Michael Schwartz, “the secret to good food is…good food.” Rather than relying on gimmicky variations or esoteric culinary items, Michael’s focus is simply on making the best food possible for his guests.
The winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: South” in 2010, Michael may not have received as many formal accolades as other members on this list, but that doesn’t mean that his abilities as a chef are not on par with theirs. It is because Michael focuses simply on making delicious food without the frills that he has had such continued success, both at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and at The Restaurant at The Raleigh in South Beach.
While many of today’s chefs are focused more on building a brand name for themselves than on the quality of their creations, Michael’s culinary style runs refreshingly counter to the crowd. More than anything, what is important to Michael is creating dishes that can stand on their own as an experience without any artifice and showmanship. And as his continued success tells us, his method seems to be working.
Specialties & Resources
In order to best take advantage of the freshest locally-sourced ingredients in the area, the menu at Michael’s Genuine changes daily. Michael’s culinary style can best be described as “no-frills”- his focus is on letting the ingredients in his dishes speak for themselves, which they often do- loudly. Some of his dishes include crispy pig ears with chile & lime, short rib croquettes with smoked paprika aioli, fennel & celery root salad with mint, arugula, almonds and pecorino, pork belly & fried egg, and a 32-ounce wood oven roasted porterhouse, served with a sour orange-onion marmalade.
Over at The Restaurant at The Raleigh, Michael’s creations include crispy Brussels sprouts with bacon and a white balsamic glaze, wild mushroom pappardelle with fresh herbs & truffle butter, panzanella salad with tomato, cucumber, red onion and stracciatella, and short rib empanadas with cantimpalo sausage and tomato aioli.
In a world where needless complexity can be mistaken for genius, Michael has carved out a place on this list by focusing on what his guests want: simple, delicious food prepared well and with a sole emphasis on the taste.